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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Fundamentals of Molecular Diagnostics. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Terms and Definitions

Term
Definition
CodonA three nucleotide base sequence that codes for an amino acid
Genome
The genetic code composed of 64 codons that code for 21 amino acids and 3 stop codons. (amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and stop codons stop the writing process much like a period at the end of a sentence)
Nucleic acid Polymer made of monomers; two examples are RNA and DNA
Transcription Process of transferring information from DNA into an RNA message
TranslationThe formation of an amino acid from RNA
Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) A double-stranded polymer of nucleotides that houses genetic information
Ribonucleic acid (RNA) Typically a single-stranded polymer that is much shorter than DNA but chemically similar with a few differences (e.g.- uracil replaces thymine).
ReplicationReproduction of DNA content from parent to daughter cell during cell division
Amplification methodsTechniques that increase the amount of the target, the detection signal, or the probe so that sequences are readily detected
FluorescenceThe emission of light at a longer wavelength when the light is excited at a shorter wavelength
OligonucleotideShort single-stranded nucleic acid
ProbeA nucleic acid used to identify a hybridization target
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)An amplification method performed in vitro
Polymorphism A difference in DNA sequences for a small percentage of a population that differ from the majority of a population.